Tied & Tickled Trio is a German ensemble that borrows members from bands like
Notwist (Markus Acher), Village of Savoonga,
The instrumentation (notably saxophonist Johannes Enders) is inspired to
1960s cool jazz and jazz-rock, but the solos flow as if hypnotized and the
group improvisations is icy as if "digitized".
Tied & Tickled Trio (Payola, 1998) is an essay in electronic post-jazz,
a genre that weds Tortoise and Miles Davis,
a genre that vivisects notes rather than just playing them, a genre that
avoids extremes because it is more interested in the average.
Every point of the trajectory is, ultimately, merely a point.
Rara Avis, Mutant, Nordlied and Tusovska Dub
mix dozens of references and yield smooth, relaxing ambience.
T&TT sounds like a new age version of the harshest electronic music and
free-jazz of the 1960s.
Gil Evans' orchestral suites plotted something similar in those days.
The production on EA1 EA2 (Payola, 1999) is so polished that the
avantgarde element is almost lost in the proceedings.
All six members excel at the arrangements/improvisation.
Andreas Gerth's electronic keyboards lead the sterilized jazz-rock of
Unwohlpol that sounds like Weather Report jamming with
Closer to the jazz tradition is also the piano-driven ballad Yolanda.
The fantastic horn section of Ulrich Wangenheim's clarinet,
Johannes Enders' saxophone and Micha Acher's trombone intones the
joyful fanfare of Van Brunt over forceful, quasi-tribal drumming.
The rhythms of Markus Acher and Christoph Brandner are instrumental in
forging enough infrastructure and geometry for this kind of restrained, tamed
The ensemble's most daring moments are also the most rewarding.
Watery reverbs circulate in the hypnotic shuffle of Sevastopol,
an acid-raga for the post-rock generation.
The dischordant counterpoint of Db Track sounds like a cubistic
deconstruction of Miles Davis' cool jazz, an embodiment of urban neurosis
in the post-industrial age.
Another complex composition, Utrom, finds a precarious balance
between futurism and emotion, cyclic beats encircling funk bass,
geometry luring mass (the instruments) into fallacious (harmonic) assumptions,
This Heat dancing with Matching Mole.
Almost completely indifferent to texture, the sextet invests all its
capital in dynamics: a piano that strums a melody, African percussions that
build up pressure, the horn section engage in a hymn-like form
The live album Electric Avenue Tape (Clearspot, 2001)
is even more elegant than the previous releases, and represents
an even more effective
(and transparent) bridge between 1950s' cool jazz and 1990s' post-rock.
United World Elevator is the centerpiece: a 12-minute
jam that starts out with disjointed minimalist piano patterns and
thin metallic percussion (shaker plus drum machine) before delving into
sax-led free-jazz jamming
(the equivalent of Colosseum's
Valentyne Suite for the glitch-rock scene).
The nine-minute closer, Konstantinopel, is a chaotic jazz piece
dominated by the saxophone.
Two of the jams,
Van Brunt/Van Ness and Sevastopol Version,
had already appeared on EA1 EA2.
Tusovska Dub Version appeared on Tied & Tickled Trio (1998).
Here they get reworked and amplified, particularly
Observing Systems (Morr, 2003) is another serving of unorthodox
jazz delicatessen, that promotes Tied & Tickled Trio to ideal heirs of
Canterbury's prog-rock scene.
The numerous horns duel among themselves and then against the steady rhythm
in the seven-minute The Long Tomorrow.
The obsessive groove of Motorik is suspended between
skipping beats and whirring saxophone.
If nothing matches these two visions, there are many other demonstrations
of creative elegance:
the comic reggae of Revolution,
the noir swing of 34E,
the exotic free-jazz fanfare of Freakmachine,
the subdued Brazilian jamming of Like Armstrong & Laika,
the romantic jazz-rock of Bungalow.
The shorter non-jazz interludes that separate the longer pieces
(the eerie Radio Jovian above all)
display a formidable sonic intelligence whose only drawback is the lack of
a major, genre-defining composition.
A.R.C. (Morr Music, 2006) contains a 19-minute free jam.
Aelita (Morr, 2007) is a wordless concept album whose
gloomy dub-drenched ethnic-tinged instrumental post-rock is a mutation
of the traditional Tied & Tickled Trio sound, shifting from jazz towards
chamber music, while
synthesizers and vibraphones lend the proceedings a sci-fi feeling
(Tamaghis, A Rocket Debris Cloud Drifts, Other Voices Other
The four lengthy tracks (that alternate with four shorter ones) balance
the elegant flow of a jazz improvisation and the cold geometry of a classical composition.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Alessandro Isopo) |
Electric Avenue Tape (Clearspot, 2001)
è perfino più elegante del precedente e
rappresenta un più efficace ed esplicito
tentativo di coniugare
il cool jazz degli anni '50 con il post-rock degli
United World Elevator vale l'acquisto di questo
album: una lunga improvvisazione basata sulle
dinamiche del sax e di
un piano superbo, l'equivalente della Valentyne
Colosseum per la scena post-rock. Due delle tracce
già apparse su EA1 EA2.